This week, the US Treasury Department announced a woman will replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. While there are many deserving candidates to consider, here’s why Eleanor Roosevelt is most qualified to appear on the note.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced the initiative on June 17. The new 10-piece will enter general circulation in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.
“We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation,” said Jacob Lew, treasury secretary, in a press release, “I’m proud that the new $10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman.”
The theme of the new $10 bill is Democracy in the United States. The Treasury Department is asking Americans for advice as to who might replace Alexander Hamilton. They’ve set up a website to collect ideas: thenew10.treasury.gov.
Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt should be considered an excellent candidate for the new $10 bill for her support of democracy and human rights, both in the United States and abroad.
Roosevelt’s contributions to American civil rights were remarkable. She frequently met with African American leaders and invited many to the White House—at a time when few blacks were welcome at the president’s residence. She controversially broke with her husband’s camp to propose greater racial equality in New Deal programs and to make lynching a federal crime. She was also a passionate advocate for the world’s poor and disenfranchised.
Following her husband’s death, Eleanor Roosevelt worked tirelessly with the nascent United Nations to protect human rights around the globe. She served as the first chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, now known as the UN Human Rights Council.
Perhaps most importantly, she played an important role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a foundational document in international law.
The document famously declared, “[that] recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” It protects several human rights related to global poverty, including fair pay, social security, education, healthcare and access to public services.
For her work on such an important document and for her dedication to human rights around the world, Eleanor Roosevelt should be considered the most qualified woman to replace Alexander Hamilton on the new $10 bill.
– Kevin McLaughlin